IBM Security Expert Points to Convergence of 'Geeks' and 'Guns'

LINCOLN -- The day is coming when computer geeks could wear guns.

Public and private institutions gradually are merging their security forces into single units to protect companies' electronic data as well as their physical property, a security expert told a University of Nebraska-Lincoln audience Wednesday.

Driving the trend are the recognition that physical and cyber assets could be attacked simultaneously, and the fact that building security relies on high-tech cameras and entry systems, said Joe Martin, an information technology security expert for IBM.

"This is probably one of the most fundamental shifts in the security industry in my 17 years," Martin said.

Martin spoke at a Nebraska Information Technology Security Day event.

Modern building security systems use digital cameras that can be set to show only activity that is an exception to normal activity.

The cameras can provide alerts.

Entry systems now use cards that not only let employees into the building, but also serve as photo IDs, authorize computer use, give access to health care information and allow cafeteria credits.